The Postscript

Spring cold

Picture of Carrie Classon

Carrie Classon

April 17, 2024

The fact is, I am spoiled.

I never get sick. I’ve never spent a night in a hospital since I was born (and then, my mother stayed with me). I’ve never broken a bone. I’ve never had a major operation. I am absurdly healthy, and I can take no credit for any of this. So, naturally, when I get sick, I am insufferable.

It always starts in the same way. I get a sore throat. First, I ignore it. I have found this is the best way to deal with imminent disasters. When I used to drive old cars, I would turn up the radio when I heard an ominous noise. Loud music and deliberate ignorance can take you for many miles.

But then my throat gets worse. I feel my glands. They are a little swollen.

“But not enough to mean I’m sick!” I explain to myself. There has been a lot of pollen in the air. It is spring, after all. Or perhaps the air quality is poor. Or perhaps it is just dry, and I am not drinking enough water. I come up with a perfectly plausible list of reasons why I might have a sore throat other than the one I know is the truth.

I am getting sick.

“Well!” I tell myself (and I swear, I believe myself every time), “I will not get very sick. I just have a sore throat, and I will feel much better tomorrow.” I promise myself I will go to bed early. I get extra sleep. It does not help. By morning, my throat is still sore and now my nasal passages are filling, and my nose is running, and I know I have a fever – although I do not take my temperature because what good is that information going to do me?

But this will be a short cold, I insist. It will be a mild head cold and nothing more. I will not develop a cough. The fever will not get worse. I will not be using entire boxes of tissues to deal with my faucet of a nose.

None of this is true.

I always get a bad cough. I spend the night unable to sleep, hacking away, blowing my nose, keeping my poor husband, Peter, awake, and still somehow imagining that, by morning, I will be well.

I am not.

But I won’t lose my voice, at least. And then I do.

And I wonder why it is so hard to just admit I’m getting sick when I am. It would seem that by now, even though I am rarely ill, I have been sick often enough to know that I will be sick, and resign myself to it. I might buy some tissues with lotion in them, so my nose doesn’t get quite as red. I might stock up on cough syrup, so I don’t have to make a trip to the pharmacy feeling wretched. But I don’t do any of these things. I hope and try to believe that this time I will dodge the bullet.

“Is it possible to overdose on cough syrup?” I asked Peter last night.

“Probably not.”

So I swallowed a lot of cough syrup and I slept through the night and, this morning, I can say – honestly, this time – that I am feeling better. I have no voice at all, but I am still able to type, fortunately. My fever has subsided. I will be well soon enough.

And now that I am feeling better, I am completely convinced that I will never be sick again.

Till next time,


Carrie Classon

is a nationally syndicated columnist, author, and performer. She champions the idea that it is never too late to reinvent oneself in unexpected and fulfilling ways. Learn more about Carrie and her memoir, “Blue Yarn,” at